Canadian Underwriter

Chinese solar panel maker offers property, loss of income insurance for Japanese buyers

December 6, 2012   by Canadian Underwriter

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Phono Solar Technology Co. Ltd. of Nanjing, China announced this week it is offering insurance for Japanese customers buying solar photovoltaic modules.


The insurance service, PhonoSolar says, would give parties who invest in solar power plants a “guarantee, should an installation be damaged or destroyed, that not only will they receive compensation for property and equipment lost, but also for any loss of income from not receiving government subsidies.”

Phono Solar was founded by Sumec Group Corp., a member of the China National Machinery Industry Corp. (Sinomach). Sumec’s businesses include shipbuilding, engineering, power tools, textiles and photovoltaic modules.

The company, which also makes wind turbines, has solar power systems installed in the U.S., Britain, Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Israel, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

“In a country that is affected significantly by events characterised in legal and insurance terms as ‘acts of God’, project investors might otherwise be wary of committing to industrial-scale farms,” Phono Solar marketing manager Eric Yuan stated of the Japanese solar power market in a press release Dec. 4.

Last March, Swiss Re estimated that the earthquake the year before off the coast of Japan cost the insurance industry US$35 billion. The March 11, 2011 earthquake, which was about 9.0 on the Richter scale, caused a tsunami, which led to failures in the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which in turn caused a release of radioactive material.

In March of this year, Swiss Re noted that insurance cover for commercial and industrial risks is available in Japan for earthquake, fire following earthquake and tsunami, but that coverage for property policies excludes nuclear contamination. Swiss Re also noted at the time that earthquake insurance protection in Japan was “very low, particularly for commercial properties.”

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